The Nemeses A fan fiction by N.S.K.
“What are your skills? Irina asks, crossing her arms over her chest. “Alchemy, genetics, scientific experimentation, and childcare,” Herzog replies while he adjusted his red gloves.
Bondarev snorts. “Hahaha, childcare.” Irina turns to Bondarev. “And you, Bondarev?” Irina asks with a crazed look in her eyes. Her patience is already wearing thin.
“Eh, the usual…” Bondarev says casually as he starts to count on his fingers. “…counting money, riding in my helicopter, destroying secret labs, and flirting with women…”
Bondarev winks at Irina. She scoffs in response. “You also forgot that you like to ruin childhoods too.” Bondarev rubs the back of his neck while he stares at the ground and tries to avoid eye contact.
Irina gestures toward the kitchen door on the opposite end of the front counter. “Herzog, you’re on kitchen duty,” she says. “Bondarev you’ll be working the cash register.”
“Oh lovely,” Herzog says. “I can’t wait to experiment with different recipes.” He rubs his hands together as he chuckles wickedly.
“Please, Herzog, just follow the recipes I have written down already.” He runs to the kitchen and cracks open the recipe book filled with Irina’s handwritten recipes.
“I can’t read your handwriting!” Herzog calls out from the kitchen. “Well, someone didn’t teach me how to write properly,” Irina replies sarcastically.
“Maybe you would have learned if you listened to me more often!” Herzog exclaims. “Okay, boomer,” Irina scoffs while she waves her hands dismissively. “Children! They are so ungrateful!” He slams the recipe book closed.
“Oh, I’m sorry Herzog…I’m so grateful for you taking away everything and everyone I loved.” There is a moment of silence. Everyone is still, afraid to break the sudden silence until Bondarev finally speaks up.
“So…what will you be doing while we work?” Bondarev asks as he rubs his chin. Irina points to a table at the corner of the shop. “I’ll be sitting in that corner over there, trying to keep my sanity intact,” she says. Bondarev chuckles.
You want to know what else is intact?” Bondarev asks with a mischievous grin. Herzog rushes over and covers Irina’s ears. “Bondarev!” Herzog shouts. “How dare you attempt to flirt with the child! You’re too old for her!”
“I was going to make a joke, not flirt with her!” Bondarev exclaims. “Besides, she’s 20 now so she can handle my dirty jokes…” Bondarev points a finger at Herzog. “And who are you calling old, gramps?! I’m only 28!”
“She’s not ready for that kind of language. I will not have you spew vulgarity around her.” Irina pushes Herzog’s hands away. “I will decide what I’m ready for,” Irina says fiercely.
“Ha!” Bondarev exclaims mockingly at Herzog. “So, shut up, Bondarev,” Irina says. “Both of you are giving me a headache.” She turns to Bondarev and points a finger, poking it to his chest.
Bondarev takes a step back and stares down at her with wide eyes and raised eyebrows.
“How dare you walk in here trying to pretend that we’re friends," Irina says. "I hate you for destroying my home and killing my friends, you narcissistic butt face! Dishonor on you, dishonor on your helicopter, dishonor on your 90’s boyband haircut.”
“Haha, take that Bondarev,” Herzog says cheerfully. “And you!” Irina says as she points at Herzog. Tears begin to roll down her cheeks. “You failed me.”
“Oh, my child…” Herzog says as he tries to reach out for her but she runs towards the exit. “I can’t take this anymore.” She walks out and plops down on the bench outside in front of the shop window. Harry comes out of the bathroom, rolling up a newspaper.
“What was all the yelling about?” Harry asks innocently. “Irina is throwing a tantrum,” Herzog replies.
“It’s your fault she’s upset,” Bondarev says as he rests his hands on his hips. “Don’t pin this on me!” Herzog yells. “You are equally responsible.”
“Whatever.” Bondarev walks towards the door. “I’m going to check up on her.” “Not without me you are,” Harry says sternly.
“But she’s right there on the bench.” Bondarev waves his hand at the tracking anklet. “It’s not like I can just make a run for it.”
“I’m coming with you.” Bondarev sighs and the two of them head outside. Irina is holding her knees and crying. Bondarev quietly sits next to her while Harry keeps a close eye on him.
Noticing Bondarev’s presence, she scoots away from him, but he scoots closer to her anyway. “Go away,” Irina says into her knees.
“I know you will never forgive us for what we did,” Bondarev says softly. “But I want you to know that we want to make this work.” Bondarev pulls out a chocolate bar. “Here, this will help you feel better.”
Irina smacks it out of his hand. She flinches as an image of that night at Black Swan Bay flashes in her mind. “I don’t need your stinking chocolate!” she exclaims angrily. “Stop trying to be so nice. I can’t believe Herzog sent his dog out here to talk to me.”
“I came here by my own choice. And Herzog? He’s a difficult guy. When we were in the prison, he’d ignore my existence.” “I don’t care about your prison stories…I just want my old life back.”
“I had a lot of time to think behind bars. I decided…maybe I don’t want to be the bad guy anymore.” Irina lifts her head to look at him. “Is that you talking? Or is that your fear of Big Oleg talking?”
“Well, if it doesn’t work out here, then we get sent back. So, I don’t know…maybe it’s a little bit of both,” Bondarev replies with a smirk. Irina smiles slightly at the thought of Bondarev running scared from Big Oleg.
“Ah, there it is,” Bondarev says. “There what is?” “A smile.” Irina’s smile fades as she stares at him. “Come back inside, little one,” Bondarev says softly. You still have a nerd and a suka to train.”
Irina rolls her eyes. Harry chuckles. “I feel sorry for you Harry,” Irina says, resting her chin on her knee. Harry leans up against the shop window.
“Why’s that?” Harry asks. His pink eyes examine Irina’s face for the answer. “You have to watch over these dummies all day,” Irina says as she gestures to Bondarev. Harry smiles, blowing air from his nose.
“It’s not the worst job, but I’m glad someone notices and finally understands.” Harry holds out a fist and Irina bumps it with her fist as she giggles. Irina and Bondarev get up from the bench and Bondarev runs to the shop door. He holds it open for her.
“Ew, now you’re being a little too nice,” Irina says while squinting at him. “What are you up to?” “Maybe I’m secretly planning to steal the shop from you.” Bondarev grins.
“Pfft! Never gonna happen.” Irina enters the shop and then Harry tries to take the door from Bondarev. Bondarev silently waves for Harry to go in but he furiously slaps Bondarev’s hands, forcing him to let go of the door.
They enter the shop and after a long day of training, Harry escorts Bondarev and Herzog to the apartment they’ve been assigned to. While Herzog is asleep, Bondarev sneaks off to the bathroom, the only spot in the apartment that is not under surveillance. He starts tinkering with his tracking anklet.